Learning is a Social Experience
The fundamental principles of learning suggest that at its most basic, learning occurs when observing other’s behaviours and the resulting outcomes of those behaviours. Observation and mimicking are the first forms of learning as a child. A child cannot learn in isolation; without a social context there would be no development. The same principles can easy be applied to school-aged learning and to adult learning.
Learning in a social environment allows for a collaborative, sharing approach to formal learning. Social learning helps to reinforce knowledge being taught, and human connection allows for discussion and means that those with a stronger understanding or more experience can lead by example.
When it comes to learning in or for the workplace, the advantages of social learning can be seen in a number of way.
When learning within an organisation, employees share information and resources with each other. They are likely to keep each other up-to-speed with internal initiatives and activities. This may be through internal or external social media or within the physical work place. This form of learning is less formal than others, but plays an important role in an organisation.
On-the-job training will often involve group directed learning, where a trainer or leader will direct individuals to work with one another. The individuals within a group work together to create their own shared learning environment, communicating and collaborating with each other, and sharing information, resources, and contacts, in order to improve the performance and productivity of the group.
We, at Flexible Training Solutions, believe that workplace mentoring is one of the most effective forms of learning. Having a resource within your own company who can guide you through your job through shared experience. A mentor is someone to bounce ideas off of; they can answer questions specific to a job role within your organisation, experience is meant to be shared, and having a workplace mentor is great way to facilitate this.
In general, people want to connect with others, especially peers, while they learn. Interacting with others and participating in a discussion allows for greater understanding and a better learning experience.